After residents staged a rally outside of a Ridgewood apartment house last month over alleged mistreatment by the building’s new owners, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez has written a letter to the landlords demanding that they answer the allegations.
At the rally, tenants accused Silvershore Properties, the owners of the 39-unit, rent-regulated building on Summerfield Street in Ridgewood section of Queens, of intentionally neglecting the building and allowing it to fall into disrepair. The situation puts lower-income tenants at risk of losing their Section 8 vouchers, making them unable to pay the rent and forcing them to leave.
“We’ve heard reports throughout the city that some unscrupulous landlords are gaming the system to end Section 8 vouchers and essentially evict low-income New Yorkers from their housing,” Velázquez said. “These allegations must be taken seriously, which is why I am asking Silvershore Properties to explain how they intend to remedy these problems.”
In the letter, Velázquez cites residents’ complaints about mildew and mold growing inside of their bathrooms and kitchens, severe paint peeling and water damage in the ceilings and walls, cockroach and rodent infestations, and inadequate heat during the winter.
“Additionally, residents expressed serious concerns with building-wide issues such as: entrance doors not being sufficiently locked resulting in unauthorized individuals in common areas, excessive garbage accumulation, and failure to provide sufficient maintenance to common areas,” Velázquez wrote.
In order to take care of these matters in a timely fashion, Velázquez requested that Silvershore Properties provide her office with a written response and all documentation for:
- their efforts to address their tenants’ concerns regarding the physical conditions of the units, the building as a whole, and common areas, since its acquisition of the property in November 2015;
- their work plan and timeframe for remedying the tenants’ concerns regarding the physical conditions of the units, the building as a whole, and common areas;
- their efforts to remedy concerns of on-going inaccuracies in the billing statements and rent subsidies for those tenants participating in the Section 8 Housing Assistance Vouchers Program since its acquisition of the property;
- their proposal and timeframe for resolving the billing inaccuracies for those tenants participating in the Section 8 Housing Assistance Vouchers Program who are currently claiming discrepancies in their billing statements and rent subsidies; and
- assurances that problems relating to apartment maintenance, building repair, and billing inaccuracies do not become serious concerns again, and to provide a proposal for how they intend to prevent them in the future.